Recently I asked myself, “What is the difference between positive thinking and denial?” Positive thinking appears to be a skill I want to develop; whereas, denial is a spell I want to break. My real concern, “How can I prevent positive thinking from turning into denial?”
I was diagnosed with breast cancer twelve years ago because I thought my positive attitude would protect me against the risks of hormone replacement therapy. That belief turned out to be a costly case of denial: I ignored the warnings I received from others and believed I was invincible. I continue to be a positive thinker. My mind leads the way to optimal health, and my actions make it a reality.
Here are some insights to unravel the positive thinking or denial dilemma:
Positive thinking is a choice to use your mind and focus on the positive in the face of adversity or challenge. It is based on the belief that positive thoughts and emotions influence positive outcomes. Example: abusive relationship – You visualize how you want the relationship to be and send love into the situation to heal it. You know this or something better will be yours.
Denial is a defensive reaction to protect you from an unpleasant truth and/or consequence in a life situation. Example: abusive relationship – You ignore your friends’ observations or get defensive about the relationship because this person meets some of your needs and gives you pleasure.
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Positive thinking empowers you to take the necessary actions in the present to move toward your desired outcome. Example: financial hardship – You are in debt but focus on money coming to you in unexpected ways. While feeling abundant, you are also reducing your expenses and exploring ways to increase your income.
Denial limits your ability to move beyond the status quo. It eliminates the need to take action because there is no perceived threat or challenge. Example: financial hardship – You believe being in debt is normal and continue current spending habits by getting more credit cards.
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Positive thinking is a state of conscious awareness based on the belief in an abundant universe that is working with you to accomplish your intention. Example: cancer diagnosis – You visualize your body in perfect health. You also stop drinking wine every day, change your diet and exercise regularly to get healthy.
Denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that separates you from a reality that is too painful or disruptive to face. Example: cancer diagnosis – After radiation and chemotherapy you continue to live your life the way you did before cancer.
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Positive thinking is based in trust and opens you to unlimited positive possibilities to be, do and have what you want. Example: work/life balance – You focus on feeling relaxed and having fun with your family. To support this priority, you make changes at work and effectively manage stress.
Denial is based in fear and ignores the signal that something is not right. Example: work/life balance –You do not notice that your wife is distancing herself from you because you are not meeting her needs.
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Both positive thinking and denial lift you out of the negative. The first empowers you to transform the negative into the positive, and the second limits your ability to master yourself and your circumstances. When positive thinking is combined with right action, you are destined to accomplish the extraordinary. If you avoid the action part of positive thinking, you may find yourself slipping into denial.
I believe human beings are able to accomplish the results they want quickly using their mind alone. Until that happens for you, you may want to support your positive mental programming with appropriate action. Positive thinking is a powerful skill to develop. Use it wisely!
Has positive thinking ever created a challenge for you? Please share your comment so we can learn from each other. Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.
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